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What are the Biggest Risks/ Threats of Climate Change Facing Your Region ?by City Tech Blogger Jiaxin Huang

The rising sea level is becoming more of a concern in New York City. People are not only concerned over the rising level, but also the rate at which it is rising. Many cities along the coastline are particularly vulnerable to this issue. Scientist Erin Thead wrote an  article stating over the past two decades the sea level has risen 1/8 inch per year. Much of this is a result of the melting ice, the lack of refreezing and the increasing temperatures around the globe. According to predictions, by the year 2100, the sea level will rise another 6.6 feet. With rising sea levels, New York City is at risk for more flooding in the future. Thead also shows a map of the projected flooding for New York City and much of its coast lines will be affected.

 

 

Figure 2.  Current and projected future flood risks for New York City assuming 2.5 foot sea level rise by 2050.  Credit: Federal Emergency Management Agency/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration . Retrieved from http://climate.org/sea-level-rise-risk-and-resilience-in-coastal-cities/

 

Along with the increasing sea level, there could be an increase in rainfall, river flooding, flash floods, and more. Because of rising sea levels, I believe it is important to take into consideration a thorough evacuation plan just in case of a natural disaster. While efforts to prevent further climate change will also help in the long run, it is just as important to know what to do when a disaster strikes at home. Many times, the lack of knowledge and planning will put the lives of many people in danger. For example, during hurricane Sandy many barriers were insufficient in preventing flooding. Con Edison’s power plant was submerged in a matter of minutes. Also, plywood and sandbags were the only defense for the subway system; a few of the many problems that took place throughout the city (New York Times, 2017). Many people were not prepared for Hurricane Sandy nor for the damage that exceeded the expectations of many residents affected. Houses along the coastline were destroyed, hospitals without power needed to be evacuated, and many neighborhoods throughout the boroughs were in chaos. This proved to the world that New York City was not prepared for any type of flooding or natural disaster. A hurricane like Sandy left the city in disarray, and would have lasting effects for the years that followed. Hurricane Sandy brought more attention to the issue of flooding than the news  of global climate change. There’s always news about rising sea levels and how climate change can affect certain regions around the world, but little do people realize, that until a disaster strikes people are worry free and believe that it will not happen to them. It is unfortunate that it takes a disaster to implement change for vulnerable regions. For this reason, rising sea levels are going to be quite problematic in the future. Awareness needs to be emphasized and preparation needs to take place in order to preserve and protect our coastal cities.

 
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OUR TAKE: Big Oil Finally in the Dock by ClimateYou Senior Editor George Ropes

The oil industry has changed its tune. It now admits that climate change is real, it’s caused by humans, and it’s happening now. But Big Oil’s change of heart comes too late. They and all the other deniers and skeptics they’ve been misinforming for decades have, quite simply, lost the battle. They’ve been overtaken by events. Last week a U.S. District Court in San Francisco heard legal arguments from the cities of San Francisco and Oakland who are suing the five fossil fuel heavy weights ― ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, ConocoPhillips and Shell ― for damages resulting from impacts of climate change and for decades of waging a publicity campaign to raise doubt about climate change.

http://www.fdsd.org/unep_cc-litigation/

This is hardly an isolated case. A U.N. study last year showed almost 900 lawsuits on climate change were active in 25 countries. ClimateYou has also reported on youth based lawsuits. In California, Big Oil has for years, stymied efforts to enforce any kind of regulatory control, leaving coastal cities to deal with damages from sea level rise and eroding coastlines.  And they’re going to lose this court case and all the others around the country and around the world. They’ll have to pay billions and billions of dollars to clean up some of the mess they’ve made of the planet; to undo some of the damage they’ve done to the environment and the wildlife forced from their habitats; to compensate the millions of people whose lives they’ve curtailed or cut short; and to defend all the coastal cities from the rising seas they have caused. Whatever the final settlement is, it won’t be enough. We can never get back all we’ve lost. The family members who died prematurely, and the insects, birds, reptiles, and mammals pushed to extinction will never roam the Earth again.

 

Video:

https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/nA_sOWmVEO04Ichsstdo5uhzp7I=/0x0:1800×1200/1820×1024/filters:focal(756×456:1044×744):gifv():no_upscale()/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/58757549/climate_03.0.gif

 

 
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Coming Up: When is the Next Hurricane Coming to Your Home Town? by ClimateYou Editor Abby Luby

Predicting tomorrow’s extreme climate change weather is not just a hunch.  Tornadoes, hurricanes, heatwaves, torrential downpours, droughts – we’ve are seeing more and more of them. Knowing what locations have been hardest hit by climate change weather gives scientists necessary data to predict where the next severe weather will happen. This data is now available to everyone via a new interactive online map that uses some 50 years of weather data from the WorldClim database of global climate data collected from 50,000 weather stations around the world.

A climatogram of Cincinnati, generated by the map

 

Called ClimateEx, the map was created by Tomasz Stepinski, a geography professor at the University of Cincinnati who says “When people think about climate change, they think about temperature: global warming. But climate has many components, including precipitation. People often consider temperature and precipitation separately. But our mathematical model includes both.” The model lets us see the most dramatic changes in climate over time, including the warming arctic. You can also see how the weather has changed since 2000 and what it will be like in 2070. For instance, the map indicates that Central America and the northern part of South America are at risk of increased heat and rainfall, as are Papua New Guinea, southeastern China, the west coast of the US and most importantly for sea level change, Greenland and the Arctic. Stepinski says the climate is always changing. “But it usually changes on a geological timescale. It’s not surprising that the climate today is different from the climate a half-million years ago. But now we’re experiencing changes on a scale of 100 years. That’s a completely different thing.”

 
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The Instability of Global Warming by City Tech Blogger Huang Huang

The weather in the United States over the past few years has been considered unstable due to global warming. The summer months have continued into the winter months, snow has appeared during the spring season, and summer temperatures have gone over 100°F.  According to Laura Geggel from LiveScience.com the temperatures in San Francisco, California went up to 106°F. For as long as I can remember, 2016 was the most humid summer I ever felt. It was as if I was breathing hot air everywhere I went. I could barely breathe, and I had to carry a cold bottle of water everywhere because I was worried about passing out. It did not take much for me to realize it was a heat wave.

http://www.countyofcolusa.org/images/pages/N645/heat_wave.jpg

It is troubling to know that there is a hole in the ozone layer next to North America. As a result, more Ultraviolet light (UV) is being absorbed and poses a danger to our skin. Sunscreen is commonly used by women to avoid skin damage, and now it is a requirement for all sunscreens to have a stronger SPF. Even products like lip balm have to be made with SPF. This indicates the seriousness of the UV light affecting our skin.

Luckily there is proof of the ozone layer healing its self. According to a recent study by NASA, the hole in the ozone layer is shrinking. Because people are realizing the importance of the environment, there have been efforts to reduce the amount of CO2 production that affects the ozone layer. For example, electric cars don’t rely on fuel, therefore, no gas is being consumed. Hybrid cars use both gas and electricity and only use half the amount to function. Some people recycle used vegetable oil to also decrease CO2 production. Consequently, the results of these efforts are making a big impact on the environment and it is only a matter of time before the damage that was done to our Earth will eventually heal.

 
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Resiliency on Tap for Cities Across the Globe by ClimateYou Editor Abby Luby

Clear and decisive pathways for cities to become resilient against climate change are spelled out in the new report “Climate Change and Cities (ARC3.2).” The the 800+ page report report was issued on March 6, 2018 by the Urban Climate Change Research Network (UCCRN) and is UCCRN’s Second Assessment Report (Cambridge University Press) where over 350 scientists from all over the world weigh in, guiding cities to prepare for climate change. The ARC3.2 urban scientists not only guide, but warn of dangerous temperature hikes in 100 cities around the world and predict temperatures will increase 1.1°C (33.98°F) to 2.0°C (35.6°F) in the next ten years. The outlook for sea level rise is as grim: in 52 cities the projected sea level can rise from 4 to 19 cm (1.5 inches – 7.48 inches) by the 2020s.

The ARC3 reports are about the entire gestalt of dealing with urban climate change, stressing the need for science-based assessments that cover climate risks, adaptation, mitigation, and policies relevant to cities. The report includes a Case Study Docking Station with over 150 case studies from cities around the world which classifies the report as an invaluable resource for urban government officials and decision makers. The case study information leads the way and shows how researchers, policy-makers, and practitioners are working together to achieve low-carbon resilient cities. The report also gives concrete solutions for cities on Mitigation and Adaptation; Urban Planning and Design; Environmental Equity and Justice; Economics, Finance, and the Private Sector; Urban Health; Urban Sectors such as Energy, Water, Transportation, Housing and Informal Settlements, and Solid Waste Management; and Governing Carbon and Climate in Cities. Other key topics include Ecosystems and Biodiversity, and Urban Coastal Zones.

“The report released today presents massive evidence that cities and city leaders can and are playing a central role in the global climate change challenge,” says William Solecki, Co-Director of UCCRN. “The need for small incremental actions is rapidly being superseded by demands for larger-scale transformative action.” The actions Solecki refers to include: 1) Integrate rather than isolate mitigation and adaptation actions; 2) Link near-term disaster risk reduction with climate change adaptation; 3) Co-generate climate action plans with stakeholders and scientists; 4) Address the needs of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable citizens; and 5) Advance finance and good government, and share lessons learned through city networks.

UCCRN was established in May 2007 during the C40-Large Cities Climate Summit held in New York City. The initial group consisted of 100 researchers in 60 cities whose goal was to provide climate change science to the C40 cities for urban decision makers to use to make climate science based policies.

 
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